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Putting Style Back Into Your Sunday Best!

Remember when dressing in your Sunday best actually meant something? A popular phrase that once pertained only to formal wear for church can now relate to window shopping downtown on a beautiful spring day, or going out to lunch with some of your closest friends and family. Whatever the phrase means to you, the long standing tradition of getting dressed up on Easter Sunday goes back centuries, to a time when people wore hats for many more reasons than just to look good!

The popular Easter Bonnet tradition coincides with the practice of wearing your best new clothes on Easter Sunday. Referenced in text as old as Romeo and Juliet, it was common practice to don your best and brightest in celebration of the spiritual harmony and renewal that Easter represents. It was even considered bad luck for anyone not to wear something new! Hats really came into the forefront of this tradition during the Great Depression, when owning a new hat or refurbished one was a sign of simple luxury during those difficult times.

The tradition still lives to this day, with women and young girls sporting beautiful spring time hats during Sunday services and Easter parades. Women’s Easter hats often range from a variety of different cloches, sun hats, and bonnets, all featuring colorfully bright adornments to announce the arrival of spring. Men’s hats aren’t left out of the tradition either, as it is common to see the head of the household in a classic straw fedora or safari. Now that
spring has finally sprung, enjoy your Easter Sunday while sporting your favorite brand new hat!

- James

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Tradition vs. Innovation: Where Do They Meet?

March 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

Which Batman do you prefer: Adam West or Christian Bale? There’s something to be said about the cheesy sound effects, the suit that wasn’t very flattering, and the super villains that seemed more charming than diabolical. Maybe you prefer the chiseled, high technology suit, the business like demeanor, and the never-ending internal conflict of the present day Dark Knight. Whichever one you choose, is any answer really wrong?

It’s the endless debate, the internal struggle between tradition and innovation. Everything is meant to evolve, and things are constantly changing all around us. When we have the ability to mold these things, how do we balance the importance of keeping with traditional and creating things more suitable to our times? Short answer: I don’t know.

Hats have a history that dates back to our great grandfather’s great grandfather, and even before that. Look at the classic black fedora today versus 100 years ago. On the surface, it’s pretty much the same. Classic pinch front crown, 2 3/8” snap brim, and grosgrain hat band. It’s the subtleties that surprisingly spur on more debate than one may imagine. Traditional fedoras used to have grosgrain or leather sweatbands. Now we have manufacturing technology with fancy names like Dri-Lex Eco Friendly sweatbands, especially made to whisk away sweat and dirt from your forehead. To someone just getting into hats, that sounds much more appealing than a basic grosgrain sweat. To your grandfather, just unnecessary bells and whistles.

With buzz words like vintage, traditional, and classic being thrown around like rice at a wedding, where does that line get drawn?

Our Spring Belfry Purple Collection and Women’s Modern Vintage Collection try to blend a long history of hat style with some of today’s modern fashions. To us, vintage doesn’t have to mean boring, but in a niche that values tradition more than most, the marriage between tradition and innovation can sometimes be a rocky one.

- James

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Ring in the New Year & Turn Our Poor Economy Around

December 31st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

It’s that time of year - we all sit down and think about a new year’s resolution. Many will look back at the year past and try to evaluate their character, and some simply take the “easy way out” by pledging to lose 25 pounds this year, which more times than not never seems to happen! But this year, my new year’s resolution is one I encourage the rest of you to take, too. I pledge to Save An American Job by buying American!

It’s an unfortunate reality that we’ve all seen and felt the effects of our struggling economy. Whether in cutbacks, layoffs, loss of wages or simple penny pinching. We search for the lowest priced products more now than ever. Is that really the best answer, though? Let’s take a look at this in relation to men’s hats. If I am only worried about the lowest priced item, I may select a hat that is made in China, but what does this do for American manufacturing?

By seeking the lowest priced hat, which in many cases are foreign made, you’ve contributed to the loss of 5,500,000 jobs since the beginning of 2001. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying foreign made products are bad, but at a time where we look to turn our economy around, we need to buy American to Save American Jobs!

Let’s go back to men’s hats - products like the Belfry Purple line of hats emphasize exceptional design, durability, and reliability, not to mention they’re made by American workers. Not only would wearing one of these Belfry Purple hats give you the sense of true style, it gives you the pride that you support American made products, in turn you’ve helped Save an American job.

This year, I encourage you to help restore the American Dream. Together we can see the positive effects of saving our US Manufacturing all while looking great in some classic American made hats!


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Looking for Change When You Hit a Mid-Life Crisis

October 31st, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

You wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror when it finally hits you…those few gray hairs you have been in denial about for the last few months have multiplied and you realize that you’re getting old!

Reality really sets in when you take a look around the office and you finally notice that you don’t look nearly as young as you thought you did. That new, 20-something, fresh out of college hire comes in every day with his business casual attire and trendy fedora hat. The 30-somethings making coffee in the break-room top off their office dress with fresh pub caps…and you finally realize that you’ve been missing out.

The unfortunate reality is that most of us are in denial about how old we have gotten, but still feel young. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it! Check out the collection of men’s hats from Hats in the Belfry. No other hat store combines the perfect mixture of classic and trendy to give even the man experiencing the biggest mid-life crisis hope.

Hats used to be an accessory of the past, a symbol of status and something a OLD men never left the house without; but society has turned fedora hats and pub caps alike into fashion pieces that help us to feel young again without looking like we’re trying too hard.

Now there is no such thing as a “magic hat” that will instantly shave years off of your life, but trust me, a trendy spin on a classic men’s hat will have you out of that mid-life crisis in no time. Not to mention hide a few of those unwanted grays!


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Top Hats and Fedoras – Presidential Inauguration or Pop Culture Awards Show?

September 20th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

While the debate continues whether or not gentlemen’s hats have disappeared from the political spectrum for good, pop culture icons like British comedian Russell Brand and singer Ne-Yo showed us traditional men’s hats are not lost forever.

The long awaited 2009 MTV Video Music Awards aired just over a week ago, and not to anyone’s surprise there were as many unexpected outbursts and actions this year as in years past. Thank you, Kanye West, for rushing the stage during Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video. We now have more to talk about than your collection of white sunglasses.

But what I look forward to every year with the MTV VMA’s is all of the new styles. No other awards show truly welcomes the originality of each artist’s fashion sense. From classy evening gowns to over-the-top lace body suits that cover your face (Lady Gaga wins the award for most outrageous!) we’re always in for a treat.

Hosting the awards for the second year in a row, Russell Brand did not disappoint with his edgy British style. Dressed with ultra-skinny pants, he adorned his attire with a top hat! Brand offered a new spin on this traditionally old men’s hat to give pop culture a look at how we can take something from the past and turn it into a piece that works with fashion today.

Then of course, all eyes turned to Ne-Yo as a performer and presenter this year. Known for his trendy headwear, Ne-Yo stood true to his style in a variety of fedora hats. Almost always topping his look with black hats, he looks stylish and sexy with the traditional men’s hat turned into a trendy compliment for all his clothes. Now, if the fedora could make all men look as good as Ne-Yo, that would be perfect!

After an exciting evening of performances and awards, we have seen some interesting changes from some artists and classics that work so well they need not be changed. Whether you want the edgy style of Russell Brand or sultry style of Ne-Yo, be sure to top it off with a hat!


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Yeah It’s Hot, But Why…?

July 24th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Fashion & Style, Hats in the News, Trend Watch

Social influence is an amazing thing. Even skinny jeans are in style…seriously.

Think about any fad that you’ve ever fallen into. Think about how quickly you fall out of them. Everyone loves to think that they have their own style, but chances are, there was someone doing it before you were. The seemingly contradictory nature of human beings to want to both fit in and stand out at the same time is fascinating.

Most people can attribute their sense of style to a single person or group. I grew up in Jersey City, NJ. Whether they weren’t important enough for me to notice, or they simply were not around, I almost NEVER saw people wearing hats. There were baseball caps, which eventually evolved into fitted ball caps & flat brims, but no fedoras or pub caps. Six years later, hats are a regular part of my style. I’m a little older, more mature than I was back then, but I am basically the same person. Yet my style has changed dramatically since then. Why?

I’m sure maturity played a part in it. My surroundings and social situations have changed as well. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t attribute working in the fashion business to my evolution in style! Still, something in the fashion and pop culture world has definitely changed in recent years. People like Brad Pitt, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, etc. have all made it cool to wear hats again. Don’t get me wrong, the Run DMC’s and LL Cool J’s of the world were doing it before these guys, but hats weren’t nearly as mainstream back then as they are now, and you can see it in every mall that you walk into today. Athletic stores like Lids and Nike have made room on their shelves for classic style over fitted ball caps. MetroPark, H&M, and Urban Outfitters are pushing hats as a part of the contemporary and urban chic appeal. To these companies, selling style is essential, and hats have become a staple part of that movement.

I flip through some pubs and ivy caps to find one that coordinates with what I’m wearing. The first time I ever walked into a hat store and tried one on, something didn’t fit when I looked in the mirror. Nowadays, it all seems to blend so nicely. Style is cyclical. Who knows how long this trend will last. What I’ve come to find out about hat wearers, though, is that once you’ve sold them on one hat, they’re going to be hat wearers for life. It’s not because hats are cool. It’s because hats are cool to us.

- James

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And They’re Off! - The Kentucky Derby, Still Going Strong

March 27th, 2009 | 4 Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

Purchase this Derby Hat
I’ve never been a fan of horse racing, but I am a fan of sports in general. So if the Big Browns of the racing world are going for the Triple Crown, I’ll keep an eye out. That being said, I’ve always been somewhat fascinated with the Kentucky Derby. The pageantry and grand scale of the event is probably unlike any other annual event in the United States.

During tough economic times like this, I couldn’t help but wonder what that would mean for the Derby (especially since the company that owns Pimlico (Preakness) just recently filed for bankruptcy).  Bill Simmons, one of my favorite ESPN columnists, wrote an article in February about the toned-down feel of this year’s NBA All Star weekend. He attributed much of the lack of celebrity and extravagant spending to the state of our economy.

Curious about how this recession could effect the Kentucky Derby, I looked for some insight from famed hat designer Christine A. Moore. Christine has been designing and making Derby-style hats for over 15 years, and has been commissioned as the official milliner for this year’s Derby. To my surprise, Christine told me that designer hats were still in demand, corporate boxes are on a waiting list at Churchill Downs, and individual ticket sales were strong. Louisville’s major fashion magazine, Her Scene, even added 17 more pages to accommodate for all the advertisers!
Purchase this Derby Hat

After thinking about what she said, it makes a lot of sense. What’s a better way to step outside yourself for one day than to get dressed up and enjoy the pageantry of the Derby? People who celebrate the Derby year after year have been saving up money for their outfit and hat. If you can’t afford to go to the Derby (most people can’t!), Derby parties are always a fun thing to put together.

So men, grab a straw boater, fedora, or top hat. Women, don the beautiful big brims and classic cloches. Get some appetizers, fix a couple of mint juleps (4 mint sprigs, 2 1/2oz bourbon whiskey, 1 tsp powder sugar, and 2 tsp water), and enjoy the races!

- James

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Fedoras Are Back with the 2009 Presidential Inauguration

February 9th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News

Purchase this Fedora Hat

Fedora hats made an inaugural comeback as the number dressing the heads of some of the Nation’s best and most respected leaders and artists at this year’s Presidential Inauguration was higher than years past.

As the ceremony unfolded, fedoras were seen on the heads of former Vice President Dick Cheney and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. During the Inaugural luncheon, Senator Ted Kennedy entered with a vibrant blue scarf and traditional black fedora.  What’s more, actors and musicians joined the fedora frenzy as Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas, singer Kid Rock, and actress Rosanna Arquette sported fedora styles to the many Inaugural balls.

Belfry Stingy Fedora

While the discussion over whether or not President John F. Kennedy contributed to the demise of the classic fedora continues, it became obvious these hats are here to stay as a sea of fedoras graced the 2009 Presidential Inauguration ceremony and celebrations.

Silk-Band Fedora

Looking to add one of these stylish toppers to your wardrobe? You’ve come to the right place. With a wide variety of classic and trendy styles, our collection of fedora hats is unsurpassed.  From warm styles to close out the cold weather days or fresh fedora hats for spring.

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